ACAPULCO, Mexico – Spanish world No. 2 Rafael Nadal will take on countryman Feliciano Lopez, the world No. 37, on Tuesday at the Mexican Open in Acapulco, making his return to the ATP World Tour after a layoff of more than a month.
The 31-year-old Nadal has a 9-4 head-to-head record against the 36-year-old Lopez.
The two last played in 2015 at the Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati, with Nadal beating Lopez 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).
Nadal was forced to retire from his Australian Open quarterfinal match against Croatia’s Marin Cilic on Jan. 23 due to a leg injury, marking only the second time that he has been forced to call it quits at a Grand Slam event.
The Spanish star, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, is seeking his third title of the year at the ATP 500 event in the Mexican Pacific resort city.
Nadal, who won titles in Acapulco in 2005 and 2013, would retake the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings from Swiss great Roger Federer if he wins the hard-court event.
In other men’s matches scheduled for Tuesday, American Sam Querrey, the No. 7 seed and defending champion, will play Australia’s Matthew Ebden.
Last year, Querrey upset Nadal 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in the Mexican Open final, becoming the first American to win the title in Acapulco.
Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, the No. 6 seed, will also be in action, taking on Germany’s Mischa Zverev, while American Steve Johnson will play Germany’s Alexander Zverev, the No. 2 seed.
On the women’s side, top-seeded American Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, will play France’s Pauline Parmentier, while France’s Amandine Hesse will take on countrywoman Kristina Mladenovic, the No. 2 seed.
The Mexican Open, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, will have seven of the top 10 players in the world in the men’s draw.
The tournament offers $1.78 million in prize money for the ATP 500 event and $226,750 for the women’s event, which is a lower-tier WTA International tournament.